Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Regal Affair

This weekend I got to attend my first big SCA event! Unfortunately David was still in California visiting his parents, so I attended alone. The Crown Tournament was being held in Canon City, where Phyllis lives, so it was pretty much a no brainer to go down and visit them and attend the event.

So much of a no brainer, in fact, that I never got around to asking anyone what a Crown Tournament event was all about -- LOL! I mean, I understood that the fighters in the tournament were competing to become the next King and Queen of our kingdom. We belong to the Kingdom of the Outlands, which is more or less New Mexico and north to include parts of Montana. Here's a Map of the Outlands. And this was undoubtedly part of the attraction for this event, being a kingdom-wide event, and for the Crown! But beyond that it didn't really occur to me to ask what a tournament entails. Turns out - it's a lot of sitting and watching. And waiting... But oh well, with the gracious support of my fellow members I skated through rather comfortably indeed and had LOTS of opportunity to quiz folks about the many many things I don't yet understand.

I arrived at what I thought was a tad late at 9:00, for Opening Court at 9:00. Actually scheduled for 9:30, it turns out I had some time to spare. Conveniently, folks were still putting the finishing touches on the tent for our Barrony so I leant a hand.

All of the attending groups set up pavillions surrounding the list field where the fighting tournament takes place. It really makes for quite a nice setting:

Anyways, my first clue that I was underprepared were the several invitations for me to set my chair up under the tent. Ah - chair. Yeah, would have been a good idea. Phyllis arrived sometime later, just in time for Opening Court to actually open. All of the fighters who signed up for the tournament paraded in and were announced via a herald who they were, who their consort for whom they fought was, and myriad details about their past achievements. A very colorful affair with all sorts of pagentry.

Once that was complete, the fighters were assembled by the Royal couple to declare what I assume was a fighter's oath. Interestingly, the consorts were then also gathered and must have declared a similar pledge. Recall that the winner of this tournament will serve as King and Queen -- which is not merely a title. These individuals bear quite a bit of responsiblity to attend events, visit their barronies, etc. Things that require a big commitment in our modern day lives, so these oaths play exactly the same role as the medieval ones they represent.

16 fighters signed up for a double elimination tournament. The pairs, and victors, were tracked on this score board.

Each round was a best 2 out of 3. There is some complicated system of scoring hits - which as first time observers we really couldn't figure out. But if a fighter sustains a non-lethal hit on an arm or leg, they must continue fighting without that limb - kneeling on the ground or abandoning their shield and putting their sword in their other hand.

Another thing that made attending this event a no brainer for me is that it was held on the grounds of the Holy Cross Abbey and Winery in Canon City. Woot! Say no more. The tournament had been raging for awhile when we talked a few of our group to go over and partake of the wine tasting.

(As an aside: My new garb! With a LOT of guidance from another member, we've been educated on period styles, fabrics, patterns... you name it. We each picked out a first basic set of clothing, ordered the linen from the internet, and then took that back over to Helene's for help cutting it out. I've also subsequently purchased my first sewing machine! So armed with rather rudimentary sewing skills, and Helene's email address!! I launched in. And I'm thrilled with the results. Now -- it's David's turn. ;-D )

Rossilin is one of our Equestrian Guild members -- actually she won our championship tournament at our place so she is our Equerry (an officer of the court) this year. She and I had hoped to car pool together, and both say at Phyllis's, though our respective travel constraints meant that we were unable to coordinate rides either direction. But she still spent the night with us at Phyllis's and was just a font of information throughout the weekend!

Returning from wine tasting, the tournament was just finishing it's third round. I ran Phyllis home, tried to take a nap and ended up just going back. By then the tournament had completed.

The winner of the tournament are named the Crowned Price and Princess at the end of the day. In our Kingdom they then have a few months of training, before they are actually Crowned in November. In the SCA kings and queens reign for 6 months - so as to not overly tax the individuals serving. So there will be another Crown Tournament in March.

In anycase, the winning fighter and his consort were taken into conference with the King and Queen and several advisors... And then they disappeared for quite some time.

Closing court was scheduled for 5, and got started about 6:30... In preparation for closing court all of the attending Barons' and Barronnesses' chairs were lined up around the King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess.

Closing court was an interesting affair. The CP & CP were presented to the King and Queen, and then to the whole court. Then there was a lengthy list of folks who were granted awards for their outstanding service to the SCA and / or their crown. Being an exceptionally hierarchical society I'm still having trouble grasping the significance of each of the awards - even after I asked Rossilin for a tutorial over dinner! Yet it was clear from the audience's responses which were particularly prestigious.

Unfortunately, court went so late that we had to beg out of dinner at Phyllis's and grabbed something to eat in town while the rest of the group went on to the feast. Neither of us had purchased tickets for the feast, but we were both keen to return to watch the Barding Competion set to happen in the feast hall after dinner. This competition was the run off between the winners of two previous competitions, and one of them was from our Barrony. The each preformed three pieces - be they songs, stories or poems, one of which each had had to compose that day as part of the challenge. They were both very tallented, but we're thrilled that our girl won and has been named the Winhover Bard for the kingdom!



Post a Comment

<< Home